Sold for $3,300,000 at 2014 Gooding & Company. Ferrari's reputation on the track and for making street cars aptly capable on the track was almost legendary even by the mid-1950s, only about a decade after it really came into being. Ferrari had found its niche; Enzo wanted to branch out into another.
Ferrari would focus on performance of another type—luxury. The Maranello-based company had succeeded in building cars with exotic performance. Now, the company would push to build exotic comfort and luxury.
Though this would be a push within the company, the pace by which such cars would be completed would be much slower. While the cars produced for the track would be completed at a much more reasonable clip, the luxurious models from Ferrari would be produced at a rate of only about one a month making for some short model runs and very few numbers. In their own right these cars would be valuable, but the fact so few would be made would make them even more uncommon.
This line of luxurious Ferraris would get its start with the model 342 and it would be known as the America. The 342 America would make its debut in 1952 and would have a body styled by Touring. Its engine would come from the 340 sportscar. The 340 would be taken and fashioned into such models as the Mexico and the MM. At its core was the Colombo V12 developing more than 300bhp.
Developed from the 340, and in typical Ferrari fashion, would be the 340 America. It was a car that could be taken to the streets. However, it was more than comfortable on the track. This model served as the basis for the 342.
The only major difference between the 340 and the 342 America would be a longer wheelbase on the 342 and a much more opulent look inside and out. Some of the minor difference would include a much more agreeable gearbox with four speeds instead of five and much more behaved engine.
While the 342 America would launch Ferrari's luxurious line of sporty automobiles, those within the company would be looking for its replacement. Colombo's smaller engines were not able to be developed easily given their smaller size. This was leading to poorer results on the track and this did not suit Enzo. Therefore, he would turn to Aurelio Lampredi to design a V12 that could be developed. Lampredi's solution was a long block V12 that allowed for larger displacements.
The 4.5-liter Lampredi V12 had been used as the engine that powered the Formula One cars. At the same time, those at the company would develop sportscars that could also make use of the larger V12.
A change in regulations within Formula One reduced the maximum engine size allowed. In addition, Ferrari would begin looking into smaller engines for its sportscars. Suddenly, the Lampredi V12 would be without a proper home. However, those within the company would realize they had an opportunity.
The opportunity presented Ferrari was to make a luxurious car inside and out, but to include the Lampredi V12 as its engine. Now the exclusivity would include the engine, and not merely those finer details that went into the luxury cars. Now, from nose to tail, Ferrari had a truly exclusive, and therefore, desirous luxury car.
The ultra-exclusive 375 America would be powered by a ferocious engine, but its driver would remain surrounded by comfortable and mind-easing richness. However, with the 4.5-liter engine under the hood, Ferrari had created for themselves the fastest luxury automobile in the world. They had provided their owners with one of a kind comfort with one of a kind performance.
But they wouldn't stop there. The next model would make it appearance at the 1955 Paris Motor Show. This new car would be initially presented on the chassis of a 375 America. However, the Lampredi engine would be further enhanced to provide mind-blowing performance, and thereby, maintain Ferrari's hold in creating the fastest luxury cars in the world. The updated engine would be 5.0-liters in size producing 340bhp at 6,000rpms. As a result of this boost in engine size and performance the title 'America' would be dropped in favor of a much more apt 'Superamerica'.
The car was the 410 Superamerica and it would make its first appearance as its own chassis at the Brussels Motor Show in 1956. The new Superamerica would make use of a longer wheelbase. Its engine would come from the same derivative developed for the 410 Sport.
As far as production goes, the 410 Superamerica would be produced in three series. The very first one, which would consist of 16 cars, would be built throughout 1955. While Boano, Ghia and Scaglietti would each build a body for the new chassis, each one would look more like a concept car than an exclusive model for the truly affluent. Pininfarina, on the other hand, would be developing their 250 GT look at about the same time and they would design the new 410 Superamerica based upon many of the same design concepts.
Capable of reaching speeds in excess of 150mph and sporting many creature comforts not seen in a car capable of such performance, the 410 Superamerica would be left unchallenged. Its asking price of around $17,000 would also help to ensure that only the seriously wealthy would come to be an owner.
Of the 16 Series 1 410 Superamericas to be built throughout 1956, chassis 0475 SA would be the fourth to be completed on the 2,800mm wheelbase. Actually built over the winter months of 1955, this 410 Superamerica would be finished in a beige with natural Connolly leather. This particular example would be completed with such features as Marchal fog lights, Pirello tires and an Abarth exhaust. It would be remarkable to think this understated car would be among the fastest cars available in the world at the time.
In early March of 1956 the car would set sail across the Atlantic to Luigi Chinetti's New York City dealership. Just a month later, the car would be spotted in the parking lot at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
There is some serious suggestion that 0475 SA may have been the first 410 Superamerica in the United States at the time and would have been reason enough for its inclusion in Chinetti Motors' display at the New York International Auto Show that year.
Shortly thereafter, the car would be sold to William Kemble Carpenter of Montchanin, Delaware. Being a DuPont heir, Carpenter would have the means to buy the very exclusive car. The car suited William. A keen sportsman who enjoyed yachting and sport fishing, such a Ferrari undoubtedly looked good parked up against the yachts of the day.
The Ferrari would remain with Carpenter for about five years before he would end up selling it to Lauren and Hazel Dennen. The Dennens were the owners of the Heritage House Inn in Little River, California. The inn would be made famous after being featured in the 1978 film Same Time Next Year. They would keep the car for a little more than four years before selling it.
Stan Baker would garner fame as an early car collector and a gunsmith. He would end up buying the Ferrari 410 in the late 1960s. Baker would not be taken with the beige livery and the color of the Connolly leather. As a result, he would have the car refinished in dark red. The interior would be dyed tan.
The car would remain with Baker for more than a couple of decades. In that time, he would display the car in the 1984 Ferrari Club of America International Meeting and Concours where it would earn a First in Class award. This would be followed-up with an entrance in the 34th Annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
Following an appearance in the 1994 FCA International Concours in Monterey and Concorso Italiano, Baker would take part in the 1997 Colorado Grand. Unfortunately, this would be one of the last events Baker would take part in with the car as he would pass away in 2000.
In 2002, the 1956 Ferrari would pass on to a friend of Baker's, Ken McBride. McBride had longed to own the car for a while and would successful purchase it from the Baker estate. This would prove to be a successful partnership as Ken and his wife, Patty, would take the car and would earn victory in the 2007 Colorado Grand. The 1956 Ferrari 410 Superamerica, it could be argued, would be his favorite car of his vast collection.
Ken McBride would pass away in 2010, and now, after a little more than a decade, his beloved Ferrari 410 would be available for purchase. Highly original from nose to tail, the car even includes an original factory brochure, its original tools, original front seats and spare set of wheels. Included with the car is a file that includes show placards, archival photos, factory build sheets and even a history report by Marcel Massini.
Though in an unrestored state, it is hard to argue 0475 SA's prominence as one of the very few Series 1 410 Superamericas. Overflowing with original documentation and authenticity, this 410 Superamerica remains an exceptional example of the line that made Ferrari as well known for luxury as performance.
Offered at the 2014 Gooding & Company auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, the 1956 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Series 1 Coupe, chassis 0475 SA, would be garnering estimates ranging from $2,250,000 to $2,750,000.
'1957 Ferrari 410 Superamerica News, Pictures, Specifications and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z8593/Ferrari-410-Superamerica.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z8593/Ferrari-410-Superamerica.aspx. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
'Lot No. 14: 1956 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Series 1 Coupe', (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1956-ferrari-410-superamerica-series-i-coupe/). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1956-ferrari-410-superamerica-series-i-coupe/. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
'Ferrari 410 Superamerica Ghia Coupe', (http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/4566/Ferrari-410-SuperAmerica-Ghia-Coupe.html). Ultimatecarpage.com: Powered by Knowledge, Driven by Passion. http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/4566/Ferrari-410-SuperAmerica-Ghia-Coupe.html. Retrieved 14 January 2014. By Jeremy McMullen
Ferrari's 410 Superamericas are powered by a big, 4.9-liter single overhead cam V-12 engine delivering up to 340 horsepower. As the most expensive Ferrari available, the 410 Superamerica replaced the 375 America after only eleven examples had been made. Both cars belonged to Ferrari's flagship America series that offered the highest levels of sophistication, exclusivity and performance. Built as the ultimate grand tourer, each car was custom ordered with a unique body. This Superamerica (serial number 0491SA) is the 12th example in a series of 17 cars built in 1956. It was sold new to H. Richard Dietrich of Philadelphia whose company manufactured Luden's cough drops.
The Ferrari 410 Superamerica was officially introduced at the 1955 Paris Auto Show as a bare chassis. The finished car was displayed four months later at the Brussels Motor Show with an elegant but sober body by Pinin Farina. Among other Ferrari 410 Superamerica coachbuilders, Carrozzeria Ghia created this wild one-off with its typical Ghia fins and styling themes echoing those of some of its mid-1950s show cars. This was to be Ghia's last Ferrari project, taking over a year to complete.
This 410 Superamerica, sometimes called a 510 Superamerica, is powered by a 5-liter V12 Ferrari engine, enlarged from the 375 America unit. It was originally built for Robert Wilke, owner of the Leader Card Company of Milwaukee. A longtime auto enthusiast, Wilke later bought several more of Enzo's creations and entered Ferraris at Monza in 1958 and 1959. He was involved in Indy racing from 1959 to 1970. Wilke passed away in 1989 and this car was bought by its current owner in 1991.
This car was shown for the 1956 Turin Auto Show, and is the sixth of 16 Series I cars and one of only 36 410 Superamericas produced. It was originally sold to Renato Bialatti of Italy, and then to the Saudi royal family. The Superamerica was built on a 375 America chassis modified by using a 250GT front suspension. No two bodies were alike; all but a few were built by Pininfarina, as was this example. The engine is a road version of the LeMans winning five-liter Lampredi V12, and was capable of 165 mph in top tune. The Superamerica was the fastest and most expensive Ferrari road car of the time. This car is actively driven and completed both The Colorado Grand and The Copperstate 1000 in 2000. It has been featured in several books, and has been shown extensively at Concours both here in the United States as well as Europe.
Ferrari Superamericas were developed from the former Ferrari 'Americas' beginning with the Ferrari 340 America in early 1951. With its sleek, powerful and futuristic characteristics on the shorter 250 GT wheelbase it is said to have influenced styling for years and is also known as 'Superfast I' to differentiate it from the Superfast cars built in later series. It sports raised tailfins and has a unique version of the 4.9 Lampredi V-12 featuring twin ignition and 24 spark plugs. When reviewed in Road and Track in July 1957, Superfast I was estimated to reach about 161 mph using a 3.11 ratio in 4th gear at 6,000 RPM; it was also reputedly timed at just under 180 mph (288 km/h). It is appropriately fitted with a 300 km/h speedometer and considered one of the fastest touring cars of its time. The first Superamericas were top of the line limited production series targeted for the United States market.
This car's first owner was William Doheny of Beverly Hills, California, and later, actor Jackie Cooper.
The year 1956 was a good one for Ferrari, on and off the track. The Modenese firm won both the Formula 1 and the World Sportscar Championships in 1956. As a bonus, the Italian marque won Enzo Ferrari's favorite race, the open road Mille Miglia, a brutal 1000 mile high speed lap of the Italian peninsula.
The 410 Superamerica was a significant design departure for Ferrari that year. It featured a unique cantilevered roof design and was one of the earliest two-tone Ferraris, it also had small, fifties-fashionable tailfins and a new longer chassis.
From its introduction in the 1956 Paris Auto Show the 410 Superamerica became the star of Ferrari's glamorous catalog. The big twin-ignition 4963 cc V-12 engine gave the 410SA 340 horsepower.
'The Superamerica was the first Ferrari that looked to America for styling elements,' said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. 'From our perspective in the 21st Century the 410 SA seems to mark that moment when Enzo Ferrari realized that there was more to the automobile business than building racing cars.'
An ultra-rare, extremely expensive, very fast vehicle, the Superamerica featured a low grille opening and covered headlights. With a long sloping rear deck combine with the double curvature of the windshield and rear window, the car had a taut, muscular look in keeping with its performance capability. Built as if for a king, the inside of the Ferrari 400 Superamerica features a lavish interior with thickly bolstered seats and sumptuous Italian hides.
Introduced in 1959, the Ferrari 400 Superamerica featured a Colombo V12 that displaced 3,967 cc. A first for Ferrari road vehicles, the Superamerica also boasted disc brakes. Only 47 units in two series, short and long wheelbase were ever constructed during the Superamerica's five-year production run.
Built to order, the vehicles featured a very demanding clientele that had the option of a wide choice of finishing details on their cars. The Superamerica was built only according to the specifications of the individual. An entirely European concept, the vehicle was a kind of luxury item that only few could afford. In accordance, no two Ferrari 400 Superamerica vehicles are ever exactly alike. These vehicles have been produced for elite owners such as Aga Khan, Gianni Agnelli, Enzo Ferrari and Nelson Rochefeller.
One of the rarest examples of the Ferrari 400 Superamerica is the 5029 SA, the Series II long-wheelbase, which was delivered new in Italy. Finished in elegant silver gray; Grigio Argento, with an exquisite red leather interior. Sold in 1998 in Switzerland, the 5029 SA was restored fully by some of the most respected European specialists.
Still recovering from World War II during the late 1940s and early 1950's, while Europe struggled with the scarcity of fuel, cash, and raw materials, Enzo Ferrari sensed that there was a market for a high-powered GT. The 340 America was introduced in 1950 as the first attempt to put a powerful Lampredi V12 engine in a Ferrari GT. Trying to associate the name with America's ‘bigger is better' culture, Ferrari also sought to make the Americans aware of this new Italian marque.
Popular hits, the 340, 342 and 375 America's were featured in an assortment of beautiful bodies from Italy's most talented carrozezrias, and powered by Ferrari's legendary Lampredi engines. The Ferrari's 250 series had changed the company from a manufacturer of short runs of rapidly evolving models to a series-production-based manufacturer by the mid 1950's. Feeling that it was time to move up-market, Enzo Ferrari moved on to produce a GT model that would satisfy his most demanding and affluent customers. This new model would share a common drivetrain and chassis, but would allow the customers the discretion in the choice of features, tune and coachwork. A step above the previous ‘America', this new model was aptly called the Superamerica.
The 410 Superamerica debuted in 1956 following the ‘more power is better' theme of the earlier ‘America's, while featuring a near-5-liter Lampredi V12 and offered in tuning levels up to 400 horsepower. Reportedly able to spin the rear wheels in third gear, a total of around 35 examples were produced in vastly different configurations as both cabriolets and coupes. Following the 410, the 400 Superamerica was an impressive automobile, but unfortunately fell short of the 410. The refined Colombo-designed V12 was a more reliable and less expensive alternative to the Lampredi, and a 4-liter version of the Colombo engine was developed for the 400 Superamerica. Rated at 340 horsepower, the new V12 was sadly 60 less than the very powerful 410 engine.
On the other hand, the coachwork options were more impressive. An impressive array of coupe and cabriolet models in both LWB and SWB variations were commissioned, and four show cars called Superfast I, II, III and IV were produced during the 410/400 Superamerica's production run. Featuring Superamerica mechanicals and are apart of the Superamerica family, they are classified by their Superfast chassis number.
The 500 Superfast was introduced in 1964 as the newest car to the ‘America' series and followed the ultra-premium ‘America' theme, though only offered with one engine and body configuration. A total of 36 500 Superfast models were produced.By Jessica Donaldson
In 1955, Enzo Ferrari displayed a polished chassis #0423 SA at the Paris Salon. The completed version of the 410, crafted by the Italian coachbuilder Pinin Farina, was displayed at the Brussels Salon in January of 1956. As was the style of Ferrari, many variations of this vehicle were built. This is due to the fact that Ferrari used different coachbuilders during the vehicles assembly. Coachbuilders such as Boano, Ghia, and Scaglietti produced versions such as the Testa Rossa, Series I, II and III, and Superfast. This included Coupes and cabriolet versions. Mario Boano produced two, one by Ghia, one by Scaglietti, and the remaining thirty were by Pinin Farina.
The 410 came as a replacement for the 375 America. There were three series for this model but only a total of 38 were produced from 1956-1959.
Although similar to some of the earlier models produced by Ferrari, this one had a few styling changes. The 410 featured side vents located behind the front wheels. These have become a signature of the Superamerica series.
The 410 was given a larger engine and bigger brakes. Coil spring suspensions were used in the front. As with most of the Ferrari's from this era, Pinin Farina produced most of the bodies. From 1956-1958, a 110.2 inch wheelbase was used. In 1958 the size of the wheelbase was decreased to 102.3.
A Colombo engine provided the muscle for the GT version. It featured a 60-degree, single-overhead-cam, 'vee' type 12-cylinder, with aluminum alloy block and heads and cast-iron cylinder liners. The power produced by this engine was in the 220-260 hp range. The 410 SuperAmeria had a 60-degree, single-overhead-cam, 'vee' type 12-cylinder, with aluminum alloy block and heads. It was produced by Lambredi. The horsepower was significantly greater. The Series I had 340 horsepower, the Series II had 360 hp, and the Series III had 400 hp. Depending on the series of the vehicle, three or six Weber two-barrel carburetors were used.
The 410 models were heavy, powerful, elegant, and luxurious automobiles that could race from zero-to-sixty in under six seconds. These cars were well suited for the American market and were never really put into serious production, with about one being produced per month during its production lifespan. By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2008
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